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The Ultimate Home Buyer’s Checklist

The Ultimate Home Buyer’s Checklist

McClain 61 Buying a home is probably one of the biggest commitments any person can have. When you’re purchasing a home, it’s not the same as buying any other merchandise wherein you can return it or have it exchanged easily should you decide later on that you no longer like it. On top of that, it’s also probably the largest financial asset for most. This is why it is important for every homebuyer to best prepare themselves for this journey. In this article, we take a dive into the checklist of every homebuyer so that they can have a smooth and better home buying experience.  

What to expect when preparing to buy a home?

Planning is the key to a successful and smooth escrow. This is especially true for first-time homebuyers. Once you have decided that you’re ready to take that big leap and move into your own home, the idea of purchasing your first home can be an extremely exciting journey. From looking at available properties on the market to deciding on which neighborhood you’d want to settle in, there are plenty of things that you can look forward to. However, it can also be scary and full of anxiety for some. This is because every first-time homebuyer will soon realize that the journey from committing to purchasing a home and actually closing an escrow to move into a home takes a lot of work and time. From learning the legal and real estate terms to choosing a real estate agent and meeting a lot of potential sellers and lenders, there is a lot of work that needs to get done before you can even begin thinking about moving into a new home. So it is best that before you start creating your checklist, you have your expectations managed.   What should be the items on my checklist?
  • 1. Create a definite budget
Before you get ahead of yourself, the best way to start your home buying journey is to determine how much you can afford. There are already a lot of factors and elements to this process that you would want to try and eliminate any deterrent that you can right from the start. By creating a definite budget, you are already forming a mindset of what your realistic and ideal home should be like. When you’re further down the road of this process, you won’t be distracted by features or properties that are outside of your budget. It is also important that when you’re trying to determine your budget that you create room for some allowance. This is because there might be some unexpected costs along the way and you wouldn’t want this to cause any delays. At the same time, once you move into your new home, the last thing you’d want after all that energy and time invested in this process is to stress over your financials.   2. Find a real estate agent Finding a real estate agent is a crucial part of your home buying journey. Your real estate agent should be someone that you trust as they will essentially be handling your biggest investment. This is why it’s important that before you even begin looking at homes or applying for a mortgage, you need to start by looking for a real estate agent. Your real estate agent is your biggest ally in this journey. They are the guide and they will help you reach your goal and find your new home. From recommending neighborhoods and properties to preparing all of the documents that you need to cross the finish line, your real estate agent is your partner.   3. Get a pre-approved loan Getting a pre-approved loan simply means that a lender has verified your finances and has agreed to provide you with a loan under certain conditions. Most homebuyers skip this part but it is actually a step that you should always accomplish as soon as possible. Under this item on your checklist, you must prepare your proof of income, proof of assets, credit history, employment history, as well as other supporting documents that can help lenders verify your status and identification. This step is important as this will provide you with more information and a better insight into what your ideal budget should be.   4. Browse through properties In this digital age, there are a lot of ways you can browse through properties online. There are a lot of real estate agents who post their listings online. You can browse through the MLS to check for listings. You can also have your real estate agent give their recommendations to you. As they know you well and the real estate market even better, they would have a great insight on which properties that are currently listed will be ideal for you. At the same time, if you have some neighborhoods in mind, you can always go and visit those neighborhoods to see if there are any properties up for sale.   5. Attend open houses Once you were able to browse through the properties, the next step is to visit those properties. Open houses are great venues to meet and interact with the seller’s agent and to scout the properties. Some properties may look differently online as they do in person. Take this opportunity to inspect the property as well as ask the seller’s agent any questions.   6. Make an offer After you have selected a home that you like, the next step is to make an offer and submit it to the seller. Your agent will help you prepare all of the documents that you need. These documents will include your offer, the contingencies, disclosures, as well as a timeline. It is best to prepare yourself for negotiations once your offer has been submitted.   7. Ask for a home inspection Although some sellers might already have a home inspection report ready for you, it is still advisable that you hire your own home inspector before fully committing to a home. A home inspection will reveal any issues that the property has. Not only will this help you prepare financially for the repairs but it can also provide you with ammunition should you need to renegotiate with the seller.   8. Get an appraisal This step is mandatory if you’re securing a loan to pay for the property. Typically, the lender will have the property appraised by a professional to verify the amount of the loan that you’ll be receiving from them.   9. Negotiations Having to renegotiate a deal is something that most home buyers try to avoid because it can delay the close of the escrow as well as become extremely stressful. However, if there are any serious issues revealed through the home inspection, then this is something that you should definitely take on. If there are serious repairs that need to be done to the property, you can either ask the seller to lower their asking price or shoulder the cost of the repairs.   10. Close the sale Once you’re done with the negotiations, all that is left is for both parties to sign and submit the necessary documents and you’re ready to move into your new home.